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02.21.10

Links 21/2/2010: Thin Clients With GNU/Linux, OpenStreetMap Helps in Haiti

Posted in News Roundup at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The World Is Mourning The Loss Of Bruno Knaapen – Linux Advocate

    I knew little about the man called Bruno. I knew he was a Linux advocate and he knew Linux inside out. He was patient with those who were trying to learn the OS and he always had the answer to any question that was posted in the forum. Looking over in the Scot’s Newsletter Forum, All Things Linux, Bruno has posted over 37,000 replies to questions or information for Linux users. He also had an excellent site called Tips For Linux Users in which he posted everything you needed to know about Linux.

  • Dearest Friends, Students, Admirers of Bruno Knaapen…

    In Amsterdam, where Bruno lives, they have the option of “dignified death” (euthanasia by choice). Bruno has reached that point. He will be surrounded by his family as he takes his final journey beyond this existence. The time is set for this Saturday morning (Amsterdam time).

  • Security Alert: They Should Have Used Linux

    I’ve seen a collection of articles about computer security breaches originating from China and would like to give a report from the ITYS Foundation. ITYS, for the unaware, is “I Told You So.” I’ve discussed the use of Linux on the desktop for years, touting its security, stability, thousands of free software applications and feature-rich interfaces. I’m constantly told that Linux on the desktop is dead. I’ve even said it myself after taking too many verbal lashings when touting Linux as a prospective desktop operating system. Novell and RedHat have both put the Linux Desktop out mind.

    [...]

    It’s my sincere hope that companies will soon discover that their reluctance to embrace Linux on the desktop is foolish. It’s also my hope that virus and malware writers will face the maximum penalties available for costing innocent people millions of dollars in lost time and data. I know how China will deal with them. Perhaps the rest of the world should take note. You’d think under penalty of death that these individuals and groups would find some way of using their programming skills for good.

  • How the Internet makes us stupid – or not

    But he’s wrong about Linux. When Helsinki-born Linus Torvalds first posted a fledgling version of Linux on an obscure software bulletin board, no one – apart from the most diehard open source evangelists – would have predicted that open-source software would be much more than a short-lived hackers’ experiment. And yet, within a few short years Linux became the largest software engineering project on the planet and spawned a multibillion-dollar ecosystem that upset the balance of power in the software industry.

    Today, Linux is used in everything from the smallest consumer electronics to the largest super computers. It helps run Germany’s air-traffic-control systems. It also runs a number of nuclear power plants (whose names cannot be disclosed for reasons of national security). If you drive a BMW, chances are it is running Linux. And, at the time of writing, more than 500 million users of set-top cable boxes, TiVos, Android phones and other home appliances use Linux, and more than 1.5 billion people use it indirectly every day whenever they access Google, Yahoo or myriad other websites.

  • Linux Fund To Introduce UK Business Credit Card

    Pioneering Open Source funding organization Linux Fund and MBNA UK today announced Europe’s first credit card that supports Open Source projects and events with every purchase.

  • Desktop

    • Broadband Computer Co Alex review

      You know how it goes: you help a relative buy a PC for their simplistic needs and then you spend the rest of your life giving out free technical support. If that’s a familiar story, Broadband Computer Co’s Alex could well be of interest.

      [...]

      Once into the main computer, Alex has been designed to keep things as simple as possible. As such, there’s not the usual desktop layout; so, there’s no start menu or task bar, windows can’t be resized or moved and there’s only the choice of applications that come preinstalled. While most operating systems have bright, large icons, but Alex is back to basics using buttons with clear text labels.

    • Linux laptop takes the strain for technophobes

      A Newcastle-based company has launched a Linux-based laptop and support package designed to encourage technophobes online.

    • Suddenly a Vista-phonic Moment

      I dumped Vista and put Ubuntu 9.04 and later 9.1 on the exact same DELL with NO hardware changes and it has never even hiccuped once. It has run without ANY failures and only has required one reboot (outside of new kernel installs)in the year since I installed Ubuntu 9.04.

  • Thin Clients

    • NEC

      NEC, sadly, tries to discourage potential customers from using GNU/Linux instead of welcoming them to twice the benefit from using GNU/Linux and thin clients instead of that other OS.

    • Acceptance of Thin Clients

      For the most part, I have replaced old thick PCs with new servers and thin clients. There is no clinging to the old ways from that perspective. It is just unreasonable to assume any non-profit organization has the ability to replace old PCs with the state-of-the-art new PC periodically to stay up to speed while they can upgrade a few servers for much lower cost. My cost of server per user is about $25 these days, not the $100-$500 cost of some PCs. For that I get the advantage of huge RAID, RAM, multiple cores and gigabit/s networking. I will give up sluggish USB to get those more frequently needed resources. If there are some users for whom faster USB is important they can use thick clients. It should be a minority in most schools.

    • Userful upgrades multi-seat Linux desktop virtualization solution

      Calgary AB-based Userful Corporation has announced the release of Userful Multiplier V.3.7, the latest version of their multi-seat Linux software which turns a single PC into 10 virtual machines.

    • Don’t You Just Hate Some Analysts?

      A server for AD/file/print with 2 gB RAM can handle 20 users with GNU/Linux, so the “extra” cost of using GNU/Linux terminal services is -$1800 . Seems like a good deal to me. Sizing the server reasonably scales out a long way. I budget about $25 per user on the server as I save more than $100 on the client hardware because of smaller case, CPU, memory, power-supply and case. I can run gigabit/s on CAT-5 if needed so the cost of network upgrading is minimal on any system wired in the last ten years. Take that, Sloan.

  • Server

    • Linux is now Oracle’s low-end offering

      Oracle Corp. has rekindled its Solaris love. Sun’s Solaris operating system will underlie new high-end data center appliances running the Oracle software stack. And Oracle EnterpriseLinux now becomes the preferred OS for lower-end commodity hardware.

      By making the Sparc/Solaris tandem the foundation of big-iron SMP appliances, the company is going back to its roots when Oracle and Sun were joined at the hip. Pre-Linux, Solaris was the de facto development platform for new Oracle software. New Oracle databases came out first on Solaris and later on everything else.

    • Piper Jaffray: 3 Firms To Grow Big In The Cloud

      Still, I wasn’t sure Red Hat had emerged as the overwhelming, dominant supplier of Linux to the cloud computing vendors. The report’s authors note that all examples of the next generation, cloud computing data centers are running Linux, and more often than not, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That would include Salesforce.com, Google and Amazon.com. In effect, cloud computing “leverages the compelling economics of open source components,” Murphy and Schwartz wrote.

    • Oracle in no hurry to clarify OpenSolaris’ future

      When Oracle Corporation announced its plans for the various products it had inherited as part of its purchase of Sun Microsystems, one open source project was prominently absent – OpenSolaris.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • the limits of virtual desktops

      so… we’re going to be talking about activity stuff at tokamak this week. there’s a lot of things that aren’t final yet… but… one thing that’s pretty much settled is that the activity/context stuff is going to be separate from virtual desktops. regardless of whether we *should* do such a thing, it’s not possible to do it properly anyways. I’ve been asked about this a few times so I’m going to explain the whole thing in excruciating detail so that I never have to explain it again. :)

    • On the menubar

      KDE developers are currently discussing whether Rekonq could replace Konqi as KDE’s default web browser. I’m glad that this discussion has not (yet) turned into a flamewar like we saw in the days when Dolphin replaced Konqi as the default file manager. Instead, people are mostly discussing whether Rekonq is up to the task it is supposed to fulfil, and many people are arguing against that (including the Rekonq developers themselves!).

    • Configure and use the KDE 4.4 pager
  • Distributions

    • Think you’ve mastered Linux? Prove it, with Suicide Linux

      Linux gurus who pride themselves on their skills with the command line would finally have a way to prove it if one guy’s wacky idea came to fruition. Yes, it’s Suicide Linux, where any unrecognized command is parsed as “rm -rf /” … that’s Linux for “your hard drive’s content go boom.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • Savvytek lands Red-Hat Linux Virtualization implementation project

        In partnership with Red Hat and Oracle; and in their endeavor to lead the market towards a more proficient, secure and better performing infrastructural solutions; Savvytek was chosen by Middle East Payment Services (MEPS) to implement their new core application – RS2 – based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Oracle technologies. This technology migration project comes to support MEPS direction in building a Highly Available, Cost-Effective–Ready Data center that hosts and supports their mission-critical, dynamic operation.

      • Lenovo promotes ThinkServer brand with Tech Data, Red Hat rebates

        Lenovo has announced a rebate program with Red Hat and Tech Data that will give resellers rebates when they purchase select Lenovo ThinkServers and Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced. The rebates are designed to give Red Hat resellers an incentive to try out Lenovo’s ThinkServer brand.

    • Debian Family

      • Element OS- Your ultimate entertainment Linux OS.

        It is based on the Debian Packaging System (.deb), same one that Ubuntu uses. Unlike other Debian/Ubuntu based systems, Element OS utilizes its own online app center for software installations, where many of the most popular Linux applications that are compatible with our interface standards have been ported.

      • Debian Installer

        A few weeks ago, I noticed some really good e-Bay deals on used, Opteron-based servers. I mean, they were going for less money than I had to pay for old Pentium III-based servers just three years ago. So, I decided that maybe it was time to upgrade.

      • Ubuntu

        • Debian & Ubuntu on my Acer Aspire One D150

          A few weeks ago, I won an Acer Aspire One D150 on Ebay. For anyone not in the know, it is a netbook with a 10.1 inch screen. Apparently, the machine was an unwanted Christmas present and the owner had not used it very much, if at all.

        • Little Things That Matter: Ubuntu 10.04′s MessagingMenu

          I’ll round off this little personal love-fest for awesome user-design with a picture of the latest addition to the Lucid MeMenu. We’ve already seen it get Gwibber integration and now but the latest updates have given it a personal touch, knocking it ¾ of the way into the proposed design ballpark.

        • U1 Music Store – Store Music in U1?

          After the post I made about the Ubuntu One Music Store, I’ve noticed a couple of things which might indicate what’s coming.

          Firstly as we know Rhythmbox is the music player of choice in Ubuntu and we can already see the placeholder for the music store in the app.

        • Kubuntu Lucid Review

          I am an early adopter of KDE 4 and I welcome the radical changes it has made from earlier versions. I have been using KDE 4 from 4.0 release and has been following its growth from simple & buggy to feature-rich and mature. The fifth installment of KDE 4, KDE SC 4.4, released on February 9th caused a lot of excitement among KDE fans like me. I could not wait for the shiny new packages arrive in a distro near me.

          Kubuntu seemed to be the winning choice because I have seen early KDE 4.4 reviews state that Kubuntu was the easiest and less buggy path to 4.4. In this article, I will be reviewing both Kubuntu Lucid Lynx the new KDE SC 4.4. I chose the 32 bit version of Kubuntu Lucid Lynx alpha 2. The test machine was Compaq Presario V3000 series (V3624AU) with AMD Turion 64 X2 @1.8GHz cpu, 3 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce Go 7150 integrated display card and Broadcom wifi card.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Marvel Reveals ARM-Powered Notebook at MWC

      Even though ARM processors are generally dominant as far as the mobile market is concerned, the CPUs have not been able to make an incursion into the mobile PC front so far because of the chip architecture’s lack of support for the Windows operating system. However, the Linux platform is gaining momentum and its support for ARM has opened up a series of possibilities for the processors, with the most recent development being an ARM-based notebook.

    • Pogoplug Safely, Seamlessly Shares Your Personal Cloud with Others

      The Pogoplug is a small device, basically a custom designed Linux computer with four USB ports (for your drives) and an Ethernet connection. You plug drives with shared files into the USB ports and then connect the Pogoplug to your home router (or switch) directly.

    • SYSGO ELinOS supports TI’s OMAP35x evaluation module

      SYSGO has launched ELinOS 5.0, a Linux operating system that supports the Texas Instruments OMAP35x Evaluation Module. The new SYSGO support package combines high performance and minimal power levels with industrial grade Linux in a single chip. The package enables rapid development of reliable long-lived applications.

    • Android

      • Wipro to offer commercialisation services on TI’s OMAP processors

        Wipro said that these services, which include Linux baseport, Android operating system (OS) porting on hardware platforms, middleware, third-party component integration, application development, and operator customisation, addresses commercialisation requirements of OEMs designing on Android.

      • TI’s OMAP gets Android development support from Wipro

        Wipro Technologies is offering range of design services for Texas Instrument’s OMAP processors such as Linux baseport, Android operating system (OS) porting on hardware platforms, middleware, third-party component integration, application development, and operator customization. These services are aimed at helping OEMs in commercializing Android based products quickly.

      • AdWhirl Android SDK Now Available

        AdWhirl, a growing leader in mobile advertisement, as just announced the Android SDK for their ads. Could this mean that Ad companies are loosing interest in the iPhone? The Press Release is below. Find out for yourself.

    • Tablets

      • Nvidia tablets could use Intel’s Meego

        Asked whether Nvidia would consider bunging Intel and Nokia’s new open source Operating System on its tablets and other Tegra powered devices, Neil Trevett, the firm’s vice president of embedded content said it would take the lead from its OEM partners.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Competitive Advantages of Free Software [PDF]
  • What is freedom anyway?

    Late last year Steve, the co-founder of Shimmer Project, wrote a longish blog entry about freedom. I wholeheartedly recommend that you read the article thorough. Today I’d like to raise up some points from Steve’s blog entry and go even further, pondering what freedom means for me and how I feel it actualizing. Things aren’t going to be easy to say, probably harder to read and even harder, almost heartbreaking, to admit.

    [...]

    Good communication means people can throw suggestions around and give constructive criticism without anybody feeling they are not valued. We should trust our developers work according to the responsibility they got when they were appointed as team leaders and became part of the Xubuntu team.

    Now that all this is said, it’s time to start taking actions. Let’s continue the discussions about new governance, start communicating more efficiently and attract new developers. If we can do that, it’s very likely that the Xubuntu community will be more powerful than ever.

  • Metasploit Gains Further Commercial Adoption
  • Learner’s Edge Selects rSmart Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment to Enhance and Expand Its Services

    We chose the open source rSmart Sakai CLE over the leading commercial course management systems because it meets all of our technical requirements for functionality, scalability, and stability, and because of rSmart’s excellent reputation and track record for support services.”

  • Imonggo Free POS Software Possible with Open Source Technology and Cloud Computing

    The Imonggo team revealed today the technology behind the award-winning Imonggo POS software that has attracted thousands of small business retailers. Imonggo is the first software-as-service (SaaS) company to offer the global market a web-based point of sale software, which is easy to use, scalable, and affordable.

  • Events

    • SCALE 8x – Wish you were here

      Greetings from sunny L.A.! I’m scurrying around before we finish setting up our Linux Pro and Ubuntu User booth, but I thought I’d post a quick update on the first day at SCALE 8x. It looks like attendance is up quite a bit over last year, which bodes well for both the event and the economy. Several old friends are noticeably absent and missed this year, while there are also a lot of new faces – I met several first-time SCALE attendees yesterday and a couple of first-time open source event attendees, too. SCALE is a great ‘gateway’ event for first-timers because if its relaxed atmosphere, affordability, and jam-packed schedule with options for everyone.

    • Atlantic.Net to sponsor California Linux Expo 2010

      Orlando, FL (February 19, 2010) – Atlantic.Net (www.atlantic.net) a privately–held high performance data center services company, today announced its participation as a sponsor for the California Linux Show 2010.

    • Eclipse Foundation at CeBIT
    • Pentaho Open Source BI vs. Proprietary Heavyweights at Caesars Palace
  • Training

    • LinuxCertified Announces its next “Linux Fundamentals” Course
    • Marakana Offering Special Open Source Training Deals

      Marakana is a privately-held company based in San Francisco, CA. Since 2001, Marakana has been helping IT professionals get better at what they do by providing an extensive range of training services on open source software solutions and agile practices. The Around Dublin Blog is teaming up with our friends at Marakana to offer our readers a 10% discount on any course from their extensive training catalog. To qualify for this discount, simply type “Around-Dublin-Blog” when prompted for the coupon code during the course registration process.

  • Mozilla

    • Google’s microsoft takedown helped by rivals

      Personally, I prefer Mozilla Firefox, a descendant of the Netscape browser that Microsoft vanquished in Browser War I. Maintained by an open-source community, Firefox is available for PCs, Macs and Linux computers, and is the second-most-used browser after Internet Explorer. The program benefits from a well-developed ecosystem that includes thousands of add-ons for everything from speeding up YouTube downloads to StumbleUpon, which adds a button that helps you discover and share websites that match your interests.

  • Databases

  • Business

    • SugarCRM Targeting 100 Indian Customers for 2010

      The Cupertino-based commercial free and open source CRM software company has been driving on its free downloadable software — Sugar Community Edition, the offering previously known as Sugar Open Source for the last six years. The users could freely redistribute Sugar Open Source and the license allowed for the inspection and modification of the source code and for the creation of derived works.

    • Investment firm manages business rules with open source

      Aiming to improve the flexibility of its compliance system to improve user efficiency and reduce mounting system queries, investment company Millennium Global Investments (MGI) recently deployed JBoss Enterprise BRMS (Business Rules Management System), an open-source business rules solution developed by Red Hat, Inc.

  • Releases

  • Government

    • The Future Growth of Russian Open Source Market Ensured: Key 2009 Partnerships, Milestones and Resources

      The head of the Ministry Igor Shchegolev and Vice President – General Manager EMEA of Red Hat Corporation Werner Knoblich met on the 4th February 2010 at the Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications. They discussed both global and Russian open source market trends and Russian achievements in 2009.

      [...]

      A number of Russian universities implemented open source software educational programs.

      The Russian Association for Open Source Software was established.

    • Open Source In Government: What’s the Problem?

      Tiemann’s argument was that the U.S. government has settled into a procurement system that locks contracts in for longer than they should. By having the long lock-in he noted that it prevents faster user driven innovation.

      Makes a whole lot of sense to me. If government agencies are restricted by master agreements that have the goal of locking in software it makes it harder for anyone new – open source or otherwise to get access.

    • MPs live in dark ages with their software choice

      We have to be realistic here: it was never likely that MPs would opt for an open-source operating system for the House of Commons’ own machines – much as the idea of them searching round for an open-source package to keep track of their expenses has a certain appeal – the choice of Vista is frankly bizarre.

  • Openness

    • (Video) When Open Source Works In The Offline World

      The introduction of open source processes continues to re-invent innovation as far as software culture is concerned, but can we see this seeping into the analogue world? Cesar Harada’s research centers on this process. His most recent project Open Sailing explores developing a sustainable architecture for research and eventually future living conditions in the oceans.

    • Open Source Maps Are Helping the World Bank Save Lives in Haiti

      The humanitarian relief effort underway in Haiti is proving the true potential of open source map building. Don’t take my word for it, follow the Tweets and blogs of my friend Schuyler Erle. He’s on the ground in Port-au-Prince along with Tom Buckley, a developer of mapmaking program GeoCommons Maker. The pair are advising the World Bank on the use of crowd-sourced mapping, primarily through the open-source program OpenStreetMap, in the relief and recovery effort in Haiti. They are also dealing with rain, illness, PowerBar meals, World Bank contacts snowbound back in DC, and bureaucratic alphabet soup.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Obama Boosts Nukes

      On February 1, the Obama administration delivered a budget request calling for a full 10 percent increase in nuclear weapons spending next year, to be followed by further increases in subsequent years.

    • Obama’s atomic blunder

      As Vermont seethes with radioactive contamination and the Democratic Party crumbles, Barack Obama has plunged into the atomic abyss.

      In the face of fierce green opposition and withering scorn from both liberal and conservative budget hawks, Obama has done what George W. Bush could not: pledge billions of taxpayer dollars for a relapse of the 20th Century’s most expensive technological failure.

      Obama has announced some $8.3 billion in loan guarantees for two new reactors planned for Georgia. Their Westinghouse AP-1000 designs have been rejected by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as being unable to withstand natural cataclysms like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

  • Environment

    • A surreal argument for biofuels

      A leaked paper has set out the idea that palm oil plantations can be considered ‘forests’ – and the EU seems to be buying it

    • Deep-sea trawling is destroying coral reefs and pristine marine habitats

      Deep-sea trawling is devastating corals and pristine marine habitats that have gone untouched since the last ice age, a leading marine biologist has warned.

      A survey of the world’s reefs and seamounts – giant submerged mountains that rise more than a kilometre above the seabed – has revealed widespread damage to the ecosystems, many of which are home to species unknown to science, said Jason Hall-Spencer at Plymouth University in the UK.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Scandals

    • Wipro Investigates Alleged US$4 Million Fraud by Employee

      Indian outsourcer Wipro said Wednesday it is investigating the embezzlement of US$4 million [m] from the company after an employee allegedly obtained a colleague’s online password.

      The fraud, which was detected in December, had been going on for about a year, although the company has been able to recover half of the money, a Wipro spokeswoman said.

    • BBC Trust blows £3m on new HQ

      The BBC Trust signed a £2.2m, eight-year lease for the first floor of a converted Edwardian mansion in central London last month to house its 60 staff. It spent a further £1m on refurbishment, including £250,000 on interior designers, project management and removals, and £400,000 on fitting out the building.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Leaked ACTA Draft Treaty Reveals Plans for Net Clampdown

      In a separate leak that first appeared on blogs last week, the European Commission updated members of the European Parliament on the most recent face-to-face meeting between the signatory countries, which took place in Mexico at the end of last month.

      According to that leak, the Internet chapter of the treaty was discussed, but no changes to the position suggested by the U.S. last fall were agreed.

      “The internet chapter was discussed for the first time on the basis of comments provided by most parties to US proposal. The second half of the text (technological protection measures) was not discussed due to lack of time,” the memo said, adding:

      “Discussions still focus on clarification of different technical concepts, therefore, there was not much progress in terms of common text. The U.S. and the E.U. agreed to make presentations of their own systems at the next round, to clarify issues.”

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Christian Einfeldt’s DTP presentation in Berlin 2004 09 (2004)


Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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A Single Comment

  1. NotZed said,

    February 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Gravatar

    Wow, what a poor comment, the article just isn’t even worth reading with this sort of codswallop:

    “But he’s wrong about Linux. When Helsinki-born Linus Torvalds first posted a fledgling version of Linux on an obscure software bulletin board, no one – apart from the most diehard open source evangelists – would have predicted that open-source software would be much more than a short-lived hackers’ experiment.”

    ‘open source’ didn’t even exist as a term referring to software back then.

    And well, actually, the whole point of free software was to write a free operating system for everyone – i.e. it was NEVER some ‘short-lived hacker’s experiment’.

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